Morphological and compositional changes in a planktonic bacterial community in response to enhanced protozoan grazing.
We analyzed changes in bacterioplankton morphology and composition during enhanced protozoan grazing by image analysis and fluorescent in situ hybridization with group-specific rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide probes. Enclosure experiments were conducted in a small, fishless freshwater pond which was dominated by the cladoceran Daphnia magna. The removal of metazooplankton enhanced protozoan grazing pressure and triggered a microbial succession from fast-growing small bacteria to larger grazing-resistant morphotypes. These were mainly different types of filamentous bacteria which correlated in biomass with the population development of heterotrophic nanoflagellates (HNF). Small bacterial rods and cocci, which showed increased proportion after removal of Daphnia and doubling times of 6 to 11 h, belonged nearly exclusively to the beta subdivision of the class Proteobacteria and the Cytophaga-Flavobacterium cluster. The majority of this newly produced bacterial biomass was rapidly consumed by HNF. In contrast, the proportion of bacteria belonging to the gamma and alpha subdivisions of the Proteobacteria increased throughout the experiment. The alpha subdivision consisted mainly of rods that were 3 to 6 microm in length, which probably exceeded the size range of bacteria edible by protozoa. Initially, these organisms accounted for less than 1% of total bacteria, but after 72 h they became the predominant group of the bacterial assemblage. Other types of grazing-resistant, filamentous bacteria were also found within the beta subdivision of Proteobacteria and the Cytophaga-Flavobacterium cluster. We conclude that the predation regimen is a major structuring force for the bacterial community composition in this system. Protozoan grazing resulted in shifts of the morphological as well as the taxonomic composition of the bacterial assemblage. Grazing-resistant filamentous bacteria can develop within different phylogenetic groups of bacteria, and formerly underepresented taxa might become a dominant group when protozoan predation is the major selective pressure. (+info)
Flow cytometric analysis of 5-cyano-2,3-ditolyl tetrazolium chloride activity of marine bacterioplankton in dilution cultures.
The respiratory activity of marine bacteria is an important indication of the ecological functioning of these organisms in marine ecosystems. The redox dye 5-cyano-2,3-ditolyl tetrazolium chloride (CTC) is reduced intracellularly in respiring cells to an insoluble, fluorescent precipitate. This product is detectable and quantifiable by flow cytometry in individual cells. We describe here an evaluation of flow cytometry for measuring CTC activity in natural assemblages of marine bacteria growing in dilution cultures. We found that more CTC-positive cells are detected by flow cytometry than by visual epifluorescence microscopy. Samples can be stored refrigerated or frozen in liquid nitrogen for at least 4 weeks without a significant loss of total cells, CTC-positive cells, or CTC fluorescence. Cytometry still may not detect all active cells, however, since the dimmest fluorescing cells are not clearly separated from background noise. Reduction of CTC is very fast in most active cells, and the number of active cells reaches 80% of the maximum number within 2 to 10 min. The proportion of active cells is correlated with the growth rate, while the amount of fluorescence per cell varies inversely with the growth rate. The CTC reduction kinetics in assemblages bubbled with nitrogen and in assemblages bubbled with air to vary the oxygen availability were the same, suggesting that CTC can effectively compete with oxygen for reducing power. A nonbubbled control, however, contained more CTC-positive cells, and the amount of fluorescence per cell was greater. Activity may have been reduced by bubble-induced turbulence. Addition of an artificial reducing agent, sodium dithionite, after CTC incubation and fixation resulted in a greater number of positive cells but did not "activate" a majority of the cells. This indicated that some of the negative cells actually transported CTC across their cell membranes but did not reduce it to a detectable level. Automated analysis by flow cytometry allows workers to study single-cell variability in marine bacterioplankton activity and changes in activity on a small temporal or spatial scale. (+info)
Seasonal dynamics of bacterioplankton community structure in a eutrophic lake as determined by 5S rRNA analysis.
Community structure of bacterioplankton was studied during the major growth season for phytoplankton (April to October) in the epilimnion of a temperate eutrophic lake (Lake Plusssee, northern Germany) by using comparative 5S rRNA analysis. Estimates of the relative abundances of single taxonomic groups were made on the basis of the amounts of single 5S rRNA bands obtained after high-resolution electrophoresis of RNA directly from the bacterioplankton. Full-sequence analysis of single environmental 5S rRNAs enabled the identification of single taxonomic groups of bacteria. Comparison of partial 5S rRNA sequences allowed the detection of changes of single taxa over time. Overall, the whole bacterioplankton community showed two to eight abundant (>4% of the total 5S rRNA) taxa. A distinctive seasonal succession was observed in the taxonomic structure of this pelagic community. A rather-stable community structure, with seven to eight different taxonomic units, was observed beginning in April during the spring phytoplankton bloom. A strong reduction in this diversity occurred at the beginning of the clear-water phase (early May), when only two to four abundant taxa were observed, with one taxon dominating (up to 72% of the total 5S rRNA). The community structure during summer stagnation (June and July) was characterized by frequent changes of different dominating taxa. During late summer, a dinoflagellate bloom (Ceratium hirudinella) occurred, with Comamonas acidovorans (beta-subclass of the class Proteobacteria) becoming the dominant bacterial species (average abundance of 43% of the total 5S rRNA). Finally, the seasonal dynamics of the community structure of bacterioplankton were compared with the abundances of other major groups of the aquatic food web, such as phyto- and zooplankton, revealing that strong grazing pressure by zooplankton can reduce microbial diversity substantially in pelagic environments. (+info)
Determination of total protein content of bacterial cells by SYPRO staining and flow cytometry.
An assay has been developed for measuring protein biomass of marine planktonic bacteria by flow cytometry. The method was calibrated by using five species of Bacteria (an Arcobacter sp., a Cytophaga sp., an Oceanospirillum sp., a Pseudoalteromonas sp., and a Vibrio sp.) recently isolated from seawater samples and grown in culture at different temperatures. The intensity of SYPRO-protein fluorescence of these bacteria strongly correlated with their total protein content, measured by the bicinchoninic acid method to be in the range of 60 to 330 fg of protein cell-1 (r2 = 0.93, n = 34). According to the calibration, the mean biomass of planktonic bacteria from the North Sea in August 1998 was 24 fg of protein cell-1. (+info)
Optimization of terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis for complex marine bacterioplankton communities and comparison with denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis.
The potential of terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) and the detection of operational taxonomic units (OTUs) by capillary electrophoresis (CE) to characterize marine bacterioplankton communities was compared with that of denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). A protocol has been developed to optimize the separation and detection of OTUs between 20 and 1, 632 bp by using CE and laser-induced fluorescence detection. Additionally, we compared T-RFLP fingerprinting to DGGE optimized for detection of less abundant OTUs. Similar results were obtained with both fingerprinting techniques, although the T-RFLP approach and CE detection of OTUs was more sensitive, as indicated by the higher number of OTUs detected. We tested the T-RFLP fingerprinting technique on complex marine bacterial communities by using the 16S rRNA gene and 16S rRNA as templates for PCR. Samples from the Northern and Middle Adriatic Sea and from the South and North Aegean Sea were compared. Distinct clusters were identifiable for different sampling sites. Thus, this technique is useful for rapid evaluation of the biogeographical distribution and relationships of bacterioplankton communities. (+info)
Bacterioplankton compositions of lakes and oceans: a first comparison based on fluorescence in situ hybridization.
Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide probes was used to investigate the phylogenetic composition of bacterioplankton communities in several freshwater and marine samples. An average of about 50% of the cells were detected by probes for the domains Bacteria and Archaea, and of these, about half could be identified at the subdomain level with a set of group-specific probes. Beta subclass proteobacteria constituted a dominant fraction in freshwater systems, accounting for 16% (range, 3 to 32%) of the cells, although they were essentially absent in the marine samples examined. Members of the Cytophaga-Flavobacterium cluster were the most abundant group detected in the marine systems, accounting for 18% (range, 2 to 72%) of the 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) counts, and they were also important in freshwater systems (7%, range 0 to 18%). Furthermore, members of the alpha and gamma subclasses of Proteobacteria as well as members of the Planctomycetales were detected in both freshwater and marine water in abundances <7%. (+info)
Abiotic surface sensing and biofilm-dependent regulation of gene expression in Escherichia coli.
To get further information on bacterial surface sensing and biofilm-dependent regulation of gene expression in Escherichia coli K-12, random insertion mutagenesis with Mu dX, a mini-Mu carrying the promoterless lacZ gene, was performed with an ompR234 adherent strain, and a simple screen was developed to assess changes in gene expression in biofilm cells versus planktonic cells. This screen revealed that major changes in the pattern of gene expression occur during biofilm development: the transcription of 38% of the genes was affected within biofilms. Different cell functions were more expressed in sessile bacteria: the OmpC porin, the high-affinity transport system of glycine betaine (encoded by the proU operon), the colanic acid exopolysaccharide (wca locus, formerly called cps), tripeptidase T (pepT), and the nickel high-affinity transport system (nikA). On the other hand, the syntheses of flagellin (fliC) and of a putative protein of 92 amino acids (f92) were both reduced in biofilms. Such a genetic reprogramming of gene expression in biofilms seems to result from changes in multiple environmental physicochemical conditions. In this work, we show that bacteria within biofilms encounter higher-osmolarity conditions, greater oxygen limitation, and higher cell density than in the liquid phase. (+info)
Significance of size and nucleic acid content heterogeneity as measured by flow cytometry in natural planktonic bacteria.
Total bacterial abundances estimated with different epifluorescence microscopy methods (4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole [DAPI], SYBR Green, and Live/Dead) and with flow cytometry (Syto13) showed good correspondence throughout two microcosm experiments with coastal Mediterranean water. In the Syto13-stained samples we could differentiate bacteria with apparent high DNA (HDNA) content and bacteria with apparent low DNA (LDNA) content. HDNA bacteria, "live" bacteria (determined as such with the Molecular Probes Live/Dead BacLight bacterial viability kit), and nucleoid-containing bacteria (NuCC) comprised similar fractions of the total bacterial community. Similarly, LDNA bacteria and "dead" bacteria (determined with the kit) comprised a similar fraction of the total bacterial community in one of the experiments. The rates of change of each type of bacteria during the microcosm experiments were also positively correlated between methods. In various experiments where predator pressure on bacteria had been reduced, we detected growth of the HDNA bacteria without concomitant growth of the LDNA bacteria, such that the percentage contribution of HDNA bacteria to total bacterial numbers (%HDNA) increased. This indicates that the HDNA bacteria are the dynamic members of the bacterial assemblage. Given how quickly and easily the numbers of HDNA and LDNA bacteria can be obtained, and given the similarity to the numbers of "live" cells and NuCC, the %HDNA is suggested as a reference value for the percentage of actively growing bacteria in marine planktonic environments. (+info)